Read my latest publication titled, “I Wasn’t Planning on Becoming Spiritual but not Religious: The Human Cost of Forced Termination in Religiously-Affiliated Higher Education.” This article was published on April 7, 2022 on politicaltheology.com.
Gerald Beyer, Professor of Christian Ethics at Villanova praised the article, stating,
“Every seminary and university administrator should read Mercadante’s article before they make decisions about hiring, retention, and termination,” says Gerald Beyer, author of Just Universities.
“In the final essay, Linda Mercadante makes an invaluable contribution by underscoring how forced termination – and the hypocrisy it reveals at Protestant seminaries and Catholic universities – can lead to spiritual crises, abandonment of the church, and rejection of the Christian faith. Every seminary and university administrator should read Mercadante’s article before they make decisions about hiring, retention, and termination.
“The pained and disillusioned voices featured by Mercadante echo the warning I offered in Just Universities regarding the faith of our students. They encounter our behavior and explicitly or implicitly subscribe to Jesus’ maxim: “Beware of false prophets…You will know them by their fruits” (MT 7: 15-16). We risk providing an “anti-witness” to the Gospel when we embrace market fundamentalism and treat people like cogs in a machine.
“Mercadante’s essay reveals a stunning embrace of neoliberalism. Weaponizing an institution’s “religious freedom” and the “ministerial exception” enshrined in the Hosanna Tabor decision” in order to circumvent the basic worker protections of U.S. labor law is deplorable. When “seminaries with stellar progressive reputations” (Mercadante) grossly mistreat their employees by effectively ending their career and potentially destroying their faith, we should question whether these “Corinthian” institutions should continue to exist (see Just Universities, 80). Perhaps eliminating their “ethical deficits” is the key to revitalizing these institutions.”
“I want to conclude on a personal note. One statement quoted by Mercadante particularly struck me: “You perform Ignatian, but I don’t believe you anymore.”